Sign our resolution
The United States of America is the only nation in the world that uses for-profit insurance companies to finance healthcare. While the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a step forward, the law comes with the cost of a mandate that Americans do business with corporations whose primary purpose is to turn a profit for its shareholders… not provide quality health insurance. As outlined below, this has led to deficiencies in three metrics of healthcare: cost, coverage, and quality.
- The USA spends 17.9% of its GDP on health care (versus the next highest, Netherlands’ 12.4%) than any other country in the world.
- With over 30 million projected to still be uninsured once the PPACA is fully implemented, the USA will remain one of three major industrialized nations (Mexico and Turkey) that does not guarantee universal coverage and health insurance as a right to its citizens.
- The USA is only ranked 37th in an overall health assessment by the World Health Organization.
These deficiencies have led to the USA paying the ultimate price for a broken healthcare system. A 2009 Harvard study concluded up to 45,000 die each year from a lack of insurance. In addition, over 2/3 of all personal bankruptcies were related to medical debts. To address these tragedies, Physicians for a National Program (PNHP) believes that access to high-quality health care is a right of all people and should be provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as a commodity.
We support a single-payer, “Improved Medicare for All” health system where medical care is privately-delivered but publicly-funded. This will provide what experts dub the “Triple Aim”: more flexibility and provider choices by untethering health insurance and employment; lower costs by up to $592 billion annually ($476 billion on administrative costs and $116 billion on pharmaceutical costs); and provide universal coverage equitably for all citizens.
Harvard health economist Dr. William Hsiao who successfully implemented single-payer in 1994 to Taiwan’s failing healthcare system proclaimed, ”You can have universal coverage and good quality healthcare while still managing to control costs… but you need singlepayer to do it.” We need your support, so please join the grassroots effort to support a single-payer system that 59% of doctors believe is the answer to the USA broken system.
All signers of this resolution endorse The Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act (HR 676) and American Health Security Act (S1782).
Chapter and Media Contacts
Arthur J. Sutherland III, MD, FACC – Tennessee Coordinator
Dr. Art Sutherland is a retired physician and founder of the Sutherland Cardiology Clinic. He practiced cardiology in Memphis for 33 years and was the founder and director of the Methodist Healthcare Cardiac Laboratories.
Dr. Sutherland is state coordinator of the Tennessee chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program and is a member of the national board of directors. He is currently working with the Healthy Memphis Common Table as an advocate for health equity initiatives that would improve population health. He is also a member of the Memphis School of Servant Leadership and co-facilitates a course in social justice.
Dr. Sutherland received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and medical degree from the University of Tennessee. He completed an internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and residency at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. His cardiology fellowship was at the UTHSC in Memphis, and St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.
He received the Dr. Quentin Young Health Activist Award from PNHP in 2013.
Dr. Roger LaBonte practices part time as a hospitalist at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi. He holds a volunteer appointment as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), where he actively participates in the education of medical students and integrated programs with other medical disciplines.
Dr. LaBonte served 20 years in the US Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer. While in the Navy, he attended the University of Nebraska, where he received a BS in medical science. He received his medical degree from UTHSC. He completed his internal medicine residency at UTHSC and Baptist Memorial Hospital. Board-certified in internal medicine with a certificate of added qualification in geriatric medicine, he is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a distinguished fellow of the American College of Medical Quality.
Joe Blythe, MD, FCCP – West Tennessee Chapter
Dr. Joe Blythe received his medical degree from the University of Mississippi and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Tennessee with a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in pulmonary diseases. He practiced in that specialty in Memphis until 2007, then became board-certified in palliative medicine and is currently practicing in that speciality. He is a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and remains certified in that field. Dr. Blythe became interested in the work of Physicians for a National Health Program by witnessing the inefficiencies and shortcomings of our health care system in his practice.
Peg Hartig, PhD, FNP, APN – West Tennessee Chapter
Dr. Peg Hartig is a professor and chair of the department of primary care and public health. She has been a College of Nursing faculty member since 1987.
Dr. Hartig has practiced as a family nurse practitioner since 1977 in a variety of primary care clinics, an endocrinology specialty clinic, a nursing home and a disease management service. She also provides health care services and monitors the quality of nurse practitioner services provided at the Bobbitt Health Station, the health clinic at Memphis International Airport.
In addition to conducting quality improvement research and teaching related content in the graduate program, Dr. Hartig has written and spoken to many groups about faculty evaluation activities and development of evidence-based practice. She is a member of the Academic Nursing Center Special Interest Group and faculty development committee of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.
David Mirvis, MD – West Tennessee Chapter, TN Chapter Health Policy Advisor
Dr. David Mirvis will serve as the chapter’s health policy advisor. Dr. Mirvis received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1970, and subsequently trained in internal medicine and cardiology at the National Institutes of Health and at the University of Tennessee. He joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1975, where he currently is professor emeritus. At UT, he was the founder and director of the University’s Center for Health Services Research.
His other academic appointments include positions as adjunct professor in the Department of Public Health, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Senior Research Fellow in the Methodist LeBonheur Center for Health Economics at the University of Memphis.
Dr. Mirvis’ research interests include health care delivery processes and health policy as well as electrocardiography. He has published over 200 manuscripts and books on these topics.
Joseph A. Weinberg, MD – West Tennessee Chapter
Dr. Joe Weinberg, M.D. is a retired pediatric emergency medicine physician and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences. He was Director of Emergency Services at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, Memphis, Tennessee, and President of Pediatric Emergency Specialists, P.C. He has served on many local and state organizations related to emergency services and education. He believes that children should have access to appropriate health care regardless of their parents’ station in life or the whims of their parents’ employer. He is a long-time member of PNHP committed to the need to implement a universal, single payer health care system in the United States. Dr. Weinberg hopes that his experience in consulting on local political campaigns can help West Tennessee PNHP.
James S. Powers, MD, AGSF – Middle Tennessee Chapter
Dr. Jim Powers is associate professor of medicine Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he is director of the Vanderbilt-Reynolds Geriatrics Education Center, director of the geriatric medicine residency program, and chief of geriatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Powers received his medical degree from the University of Rochester. He completed residencies at the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve and a fellowship through the US Public Health System.
In Memoriam: J. I. Hudson Jr., MD – Middle Tennessee Chapter
Dr. Hudson was instrumental in starting the Middle Tennessee chapter of PNHP. His medical career included private practice in pediatrics, associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Medicine, Associate Dean for Academic Medicine at the Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine, and associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management. He participated in efforts to establish nation-wide networks for quality assurance for acute hospital care in The Netherlands and Peninsular Malaysia, and consulted on matters of health care quality with the U.S. Health Care Financing Agency, the Select Committee on Aging of U.S. Congress, and USAID-supported primary health care programs in West Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Hudson passed away in 2012.
Raymond Feierabend, MD, FAAFP – East Tennessee, State of Franklin Chapter
Dr. Feierabend is professor and Director of Graduate Medical Education in the Department of Family Medicine at East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine. A native of Louisiana, he received his medical degree from Tulane University and completed his residency at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. He established a rural National Health Service Corps practice in Dungannon, Virginia, before moving to the Quillen College of Medicine in 1982.
Robert Funke, MD – East Tennessee, State of Franklin Chapter
Dr. Bob Funke is a family physician at Mountain Region Family Medicine in Kingsport, Tennessee, where he is a founding member and past president of the board of directors. He is also a member of the executive committee at Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center. Dr. Funke received his medical degree from Tulane University and completed his residency at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem.
State Organizations Endorsing HR676
- Warren County, TN
Local Unions Endorsing HR676
- Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 9-ABG 1, Kingsport, TN
- Plumbers Local Union #17, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA), Memphis, TN